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Have You Noticed Your Bearded Dragon Flaring Out Their Beard? If So, Keep Reading To Learn The 7 Common Reasons Behind This Odd Behavior.
Flaring, or puffing-out the beard, is another common behavior in bearded dragons. This behavior can mean a variety of things – which is why it’s important to examine and diagnose this peculiar habit.
So, why is my bearded dragon flaring?
Beardies often flare out their beard as a defense technique. Oftentimes, they display this behavior when they are under threat. However, bearded dragons can also flare out to attract mates, stay afloat during baths, assert dominance, among other reasons.
To better understand the flaring behavior, we are going to cover other reasons why bearded dragons flare out. Before we proceed, you should know that flaring is a normal behavior in bearded dragons. It is also commonly known as puffing up.
Knowing why bearded dragons flare their beards is important because it’s a common behavior that can have a wide range of meanings. As you know, deciphering the behavior of beardies can be difficult.
Keep reading to learn the seven most common reasons why bearded dragons flare out and what it means.
#1. Flaring When Threatened
Beardies flare out when they feel threatened by predators. By puffing up their neck and abdominal region, bearded dragons can appear larger than they really are. Through this, potential predators will be less likely to prey on them.
Pet bearded dragons can easily get intimated by other household pets such as cats. Additionally, they may feel threatened by inanimate objects in their environment. You should therefore see to it that your bearded dragon feels safe at all times.
Placing hideouts inside the terrarium can make your beardie less scared. The Exo Terra Reptile Cave is one of the reliable hides that you can buy for your bearded dragon.
Beardies can also flare out as a result of stress. This often occurs when they are introduced to a new environment. As such, you should give your beardie time to adjust to its surroundings. The flaring behavior may also be exhibited when a bearded dragon is frightened of its owner.
That being said, you should limit handling if you notice that your beardie is scared of you. Ensure that you create a bond with your bearded dragon before engaging them in play. In addition to this, the enclosure should be placed in an area that other pets cannot access.
#2. Attracting Mates
In the animal kingdom, female species choose their mates based on their physical appearance. The same applies to bearded dragons. Male bearded dragons flare out their beards to female beardies to show they want to mate with them.
When a male beardie is housed with a female in the same enclosure, they are more likely to flare. Although flaring is common in male bearded dragons, females can also puff up their beard.
Nonetheless, males tend to have a darker beard than their female counterparts. Male beardies with a larger beard are highly preferred by females, thus increasing their chances of mating.
#3. Flaring During Baths
Many bearded dragon keepers report that their beardies flare out their beards when taking baths. This can occur if the beardie is placed in water that is too deep for them. Consequently, the bearded dragon will be naturally driven by instinct to fill up its pouch with air.
This will, in turn, make it buoyant, thereby allowing the bearded dragon to float effortlessly. If you are planning on bathing your beardie, you should keep the water below their shoulder. This will not only eliminate the fear of drowning but also stress.
As a result, your bearded dragon will enjoy its bath time without flaring. For the safety and wellbeing of your beardie, ensure that you use lukewarm water during baths. Bearded dragon experts recommend that you warm the bathwater to about 90°F to 100°F.
You can bathe your bearded dragon 2-3 times per week. This may, however, vary depending on the condition that the beardie is in. Bathing a bearded dragon too often can predispose them to scale rot and fungal infections.
#4. Flaring To Show Excitement
The fact that your bearded dragon is flaring does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. Beardies can flare out of happiness. They often do this when they are properly stimulated physically and mentally.
Most beardies engage in flaring behavior during play and other exciting activities. It’s their way of showing they are in a good mood. Be sure to check out our article on our favorite bearded dragon toys that will keep your bearded dragon entertained for hours!
#5. Asserting Dominance
Bearded dragons are territorial creatures. Two or more beardies of the same sex can only coexist in the same environment after a pecking order has been established. As such, a beardie may flare out its beard to show other bearded dragons that it is the one in charge.
This is the primary reason why should never house male beardies in the same enclosure. They often engage in bloody duels that can at times be fatal. However, male and female beardies can sometimes live peacefully provided that the tank is spacious.
Baby bearded dragons should be housed separately from the adults to prevent possible cases of bullying.
#6. Flaring For Shedding
According to reptile experts, bearded dragons flare their bodies when they are about to shed. Flaring can hasten the skin sloughing process, thus preventing stuck shed. Aside from that, it allows the beardie to loosen its old skin with minimal strain.
Nonetheless, not all bearded dragons flare out before shedding. Still, this behavior is common in some beardies. If your bearded dragon flares out repeatedly during the shedding period, it means they are trying to get rid of their shed.
You can help your bearded dragon shed its skin by giving them a warm bath. Alternatively, you can mist their enclosure to increase the humidity levels. That way, the outermost layer of the skin will soften gradually, allowing for frustration-free shedding.
#7. Flaring Out Before Eating
Bearded dragons may flare out their bodies for two main reasons before devouring their food. Beardie experts suggest that they do this to expand their stomachs. As such, they’ll be able to consume more food in each feeding session.
The other explanation for this behavior is that the beardie is trying to intimidate its prey before eating it. This particularly applies when the bearded dragon is fed live insects.
It is not uncommon for bearded dragons to flare their beard, neck, and abdomen. Flaring enables beardies to express a variety of feelings. As a bearded dragon owner, you should familiarize yourself with the common bearded dragon behaviors.
As you have seen, beardies can use one behavior to communicate in multiple ways. Learning and knowing what each behavior means can help you avoid guesswork when keeping bearded dragons.